Dairy farmers celebrate signing of new trade deal

President Donald Trump pumps his fist after signing a new North American trade agreement with...
President Donald Trump pumps his fist after signing a new North American trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, during an event at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 29, 2020 at 11:40 AM CST
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Dairy farmers are celebrating President Donald J. Trump's

with Mexico and Canada that is projected to provide a boost to milk prices.

The new USMCA, which rewrites many of the trade rules in NAFTA, will open up more opportunities for dairy farmers to export to Canada and increase the stability in trade with Mexico, American Jersey Cattle Association Field Director Kristin Paul explained.

“The president and Congress, including nearly all of our delegation here in Wisconsin, deserve congratulations for working so hard on this vital agreement,” Dairy Business Association Vice President Amy Penterman said.

In signing the measure, President Trump says it will replace what he calls the "nightmare" of a Clinton-area agreement that governed trade among the three countries. The Mexican government has already signed off on the deal and with President Trump's John Hancock on Wednesday, it just needs the approval of the Canadian parliament, which is expected to come soon.

"We can finally celebrate"

Penterman called the event "an exciting day... (that) has been a long time in the making."

As part of Wisconsin's largest dairy lobbying group, Penterman was invited as a guest to Wednesday's ceremony. She noted the relationships between dairy farmers and the U.S. two closest neighbors have benefited since NAFTA's passing, pointing out that Mexico is their largest dairy export market with Canada slotting in as the third biggest.

“Wisconsin dairy farmers and processors produce milk, cheese and other dairy foods that are second to none," she continued. "Who better than America’s Dairyland to help meet the nutritional demands of a growing population around the world?"

The lobbying group projects the agreement will not only help both large and small farms, the benefits will reach into the rural communities that surround them as well.

"A tremendous victory"

The president of the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Brody Stapel, called the passage a "tremendous victory" that will help Wisconsin farmers thrive. He praised lawmakers for reaching across the aisle to make the deal a reality.

"The outlook is far brighter today for farmers’ businesses, families and employees, and our rural communities because of this historic agreement, which also benefits so many other parts of America’s economy," he said.

One Edge member, Michael Crinion, pointed out how the agreement also standardizes cheese names, which he says will help when exporting to Mexico.

"The agreement signed today also protects our south-bound, commonly named cheeses and it modernizes regulatory transparency measures,” he said.

Other parts of the deal

The deal wasn't

though. The

covers a broad range of industries and labor relations.

President Trump had argued NAFTA encouraged factories to leave the United States and relocate south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labor. He says the new deal with Canada and Mexico will keep jobs, wealth and growth in America.

Expert say the impact will be modest, given that Canada and Mexico already represent the top two export markets for U.S. goods.